Book Review: The Effective CIO

The Effective CIOThe Effective CIO: How to Achieve Outstanding Success through Strategic Alignment, Financial Management, and IT Governance was a great read. This 2009 book by Eric J Brown and William A Yarberry Jr. published by CRC Press really does a thorough job covering what it means to be an effective CIO in plain terms. Brown and Yarberry include in The Effective CIO numerous visuals to support their key concepts which they further strengthen with practical examples I am sure every CIO can understand.

The Effective CIO begins with the areas most essential to being an effective chief information officer beginning with the required Core Skills and Career Development. It is in this first chapter Brown and Yarberry establish the linkages to the other chapters which are organized around specific CIO competency areas.

IT Governance, IT Finance, Project Management lay out the core emphasized in The Effective CIO followed the rationale behind Creating Good Enough Code and the importance of Enterprise Architecture to being The Effective CIO.

The Effective CIO then moves into more focused areas of Mergers and Acquisitions, Sourcing, Business Intelligence and Analysis, Security, Training, using Consultants and Operations. For these chapters I imagine some CIO’s may not find them all relevant to their particular situation, but they do still offer good ideas for general CIO career development.

Brown and Tarberry wrap things up by connecting to the Future of things as it may or may not impact CIO’s followed by excerpts from CIO Interviews used in developing the book which I found to be a pleasant surprise.

The Effective CIO also contains eight resource Appendices which provide very useful examples that can be adapted for use in nearly every shop. Most of the appendices deal with areas of risk management including IT risk assessment, IT key controls, Policy examples, and due diligence for M&A.

Overall, I really enjoyed the book. I found that I agreed with what the authors chose as being important to CIO effectiveness and the relative emphasis given to the different elements. I thought they spent enough time on their topics while keeping things moving along at a good pace which is always important.

There were two things I wanted a bit more on. First I wished the Brown and Yarberry would have connected the material presented later in the book back to the earlier concepts.

As one example is that The Effective CIO notes the use of CoBIT in IT Governance, IT Finance, Enterprise Architecture but didn’t feature CoBIT as much later on in Security or Operations chosing instead to emphasize ISO/BS and ITIL frameworks.

This is a very minor issue but could have been a big help to CIO’s in seeing the harmony of using one framework across multiple domains. It would have also been an opportunity to show the crosswalk between these frameworks. Again, minor.

Second, it seemed more time could have been devoted to outsourcing and using consulting services from the procurement standpoint. That view is based on how much of the role of the CIO can be focused on procurement. The Effective CIO does address procuring outsourcing including the pros and cons of offshore, onshore and near shore but less from a procurement standpoint than from a vendor management standpoint.

What I really appreciated more than anything in The Effective CIO was the attention given to Enterprise Architecture. Enterprise Architecture was presented as an integral part of IT strategy and included a solid explanation for its development out of business architecture.

With so much attention n the CIO profession being paid to the role of the CIO and being a more strategic CIO,  The Effective CIO: How to Achieve Outstanding Success through Strategic Alignment, Financial Management, and IT Governance is a great book for anyone dealing with these concerns.


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One Response to Book Review: The Effective CIO

  1. Rick says:

    Thx, it’s always great to find candid book reviews.

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